Exercises to Improve Your Posture


Yoga poses that stretch and lengthen your spine may help you improve your posture.

Why posture is so important.

It is more than just looking good. This helps to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. All of these can lead to a reduction in muscle pain, and more energy during the day. Correct posture can also reduce stress on your muscles, ligaments, and joints. This reduces your risk of injury.

You will also become more aware of the muscles in your body, which makes it easier to correct yourself. You might notice that as you improve your posture and become aware of your body you are able to identify areas of tension or imbalances.

Learn how to stand taller with 12 simple exercises.

1. Child’s Pose

This pose helps to stretch and lengthen your glutes and hamstrings. This pose releases tension from your neck and lower back.

Do this:

Sit with your legs together and your toes touching. Your heels should be splayed to the side.

Fold your hips forward and extend your hands in front of your body.

Squat your hips down towards your feet. Place a folded blanket or pillow under your thighs if they will not sink all the way.

Place your forehead gently on the floor or turn your head one way.

Rest your arms on your body or keep them extended.

Breathe in deeply at the back of your ribcage and waist.

Continue to breathe deeply and relax in this position for 5 minutes.

2. Forward fold

This standing stretch will release tension from your glutes, hamstrings, and spine. This stretch also stretches the hips and legs. You should feel your entire backside opening up and extending as you do this stretch.

Do this:

Standing with your heels apart and your big toes together, place your feet in a straight line.

Fold your hips forward and bring your hands up to your hips.

Release your hands and place them on the block or floor. Do not worry if you do not reach the floor with your hands. Just go as far as possible.

Allow your spine to stretch by bending your knees, allowing your hip joints to soften, and letting your spine lengthen.

Allow your head to drop to the ground as you tuck your chin in your chest.

Keep this position for up to one minute.

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3. Cat cow

Cat cow stretching and massage your spine. This helps relieve tension from your neck, shoulders and torso while increasing blood circulation.

Do this:

As you come to your knees, evenly distribute your weight between the four points.

As you inhale, drop your stomach down towards the ground and extend your spine.

Exhale, arch your spine upwards and tuck in your chin.

Continue to move for a minimum of 1 minute.

4. Standing cat cow

The cat cow stretch is a terrific way to release tightness from your hips, glutes and back.

Do this:

Standing with your feet at hip width apart and your knees slightly bent, place your feet in a straight line.

Place your hands on your thighs or extend them in front of yourself.

As you lengthen your neck and bring your chin to your chest, round your spine.

Look up, raise your chest, and then move your spine the other way.

Each position should be held for five breaths.

Continue to do this for a couple of minutes.

5. Chest opener

This exercise will allow you to stretch and open your chest. It is particularly useful if your daily routine involves a lot of sitting. This can cause your chest to move inward. Standing up straighter is also easier when you strengthen your chest.

Do this:

Stand with your legs about hip width apart.

Your palms should be pressed together as you bring your arms back behind you. If your hands cannot touch each other, grab a towel.

As you stare straight ahead, keep your neck, spine, and head in a single line.

As you inhale, lift your chest to the ceiling while bringing your hands towards the floor.

Hold this pose for five breaths.

Relax and release for a few moments.

Repeat this at least 10 more times.

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6. High plank

High planks help to relieve stiffness and pain throughout the body, while strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. This pose also improves your posture by strengthening and balancing your back and core.

Do this:

Straighten your legs and lift your heels and hips.

Straighten your spine and contract your abdominal, arm and leg muscles.

Look down and soften your throat.

Keep your chest wide open and your shoulders straight.

Hold this position up to one minute.

7. Side plank

Use a side-plank to keep your spine and legs in neutral alignment. This pose is energizing and works your glutes and side muscles. This helps support your back by aligning and strengthening these muscles.

Do this:

Bring your left hand in slightly to the center from a position of high plank.

As you lift your hips, shift your weight to your left side, stack your feet, and raise your heels.

Place your right arm on your hips or raise it to the ceiling.

Drop your left leg to the floor if you need extra support.

As you hold this position, engage your abdominal muscles, side body and glutes.

Align your entire body in a straight, horizontal line.

You can either look straight ahead or upwards at your hand.

Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Repeat the process on the other side.

8. Downward-facing dog

This forward bend can be used to rest your body and balance it. The downward-facing pose of the dog helps relieve back pain while strengthening and aligning back muscles. Regular practice helps improve posture.

Do this:

Press your hands into the floor while tucking your toes and lifting your heels.

You can also lift your hips and knees to raise your sitting bones towards the ceiling.

Lengthen your spine by bending your knees.

Keep your ears aligned with your upper arms, or tuck in your chin to your chest.

Keep your heels raised and press firmly with your hands.

Keep this position for a maximum of 1 minute.

9. Pigeon pose

This hip opener also stretches your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. Pigeon pose helps to stretch the sciatic nerve as well as your quadriceps. Stretching and opening these areas in your body will help you correct your posture.

Do this:

On all fours, place your knees just below your hips. Place your hands slightly in front of your shoulders.

Place your right leg angled to the left behind your right wrist.

Rest your right outside shin against the floor.

Slide your left foot back, straighten out your knee and place your thigh down on the floor.

Ensure that your left leg is straight (and not angled to the side).

Slowly lower yourself to the inner right thigh, with your arms extended.

Hold this position up to one minute.

Release the position slowly by lifting your torso and walking your hands toward your hips.

Repeat the process on the other side.

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10. Rotation of the thoracic spine

This exercise increases your mobility and stability while relieving tightness in the back.

Do this:

On all fours, bring your hips down to your heels. Rest your feet on your shins.

Put your left arm behind your head and your elbow to the side.

Bring your right hand to the center of your body and rest it on your forearm.

Stretch your front torso as you exhale and rotate your left arm up towards the ceiling.

Inhale deeply and exhale slowly in this position.

Release the grip and return to its original position.

Repeat this motion 5 to 10 more times.

Repeat the process on the other side.

11. Glute squeezes

This exercise will help to strengthen your glutes and relieve lower back pain. This exercise improves your posture and the alignment and functioning of your hips.

Do this:

Lay on your back, with your legs bent and your toes about hip distance apart.

Keep your feet at least a foot from your hips.

Rest your arms with palms facing downward.

As you move your feet towards your hips, exhale.

After 10 seconds, move your hands further away from the hips.

Continue to do this for one minute.

This exercise should be done a few times per day.

12. Isometric rows

The exercise relieves pain and stiffness caused by sitting for too long. The isometric pulls will strengthen your back, shoulder, and arm muscles to help you maintain good posture.

Do this:

Sit on a chair that has a padded back.

Your palms should be facing each other and your fingers facing forward.

As you exhale, draw your elbows into the chair and squeeze your shoulder blades.

Hold this position for 10 seconds, while you breathe deeply.

Release slowly from the inhale position.

Repeat this motion for one minute.

This exercise should be repeated several times a day.